“Pop the champagne, and turn up the music…we finally signed our deal!” Even experienced outsourcing buyers are tempted to celebrate the still wet ink on the signed agreement. They’ve gone through arduous months of provider discussions, business case development, and service delivery solution design, and crossed and dotted all the contractual “T’s” and “I’s” to enable the creation of value from their third party partner.
However, a signed contract establishes the promise of value, rather than value itself. Thus, borrowing Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu’s famous quote, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step,” the executed agreement in many respects represents only the first step in the transition to the future state.
The next steps you take in your transition journey will set the stage for your success or failure, as transition involves creation of the service relationship. And the service relationship determines prospects for future growth of the relationship, value, and mutual gain.
Following are some refresher tips that will help you achieve a successful transition, thereby helping ensure you achieve the expected value from the relationship.
Success is rooted in the basics: clear objectives, structured and detailed planning, relentless execution, and strong relationships.
Notice we’ve used the word relationship five times in the past several sentences? That’s because it deserves a little extra focus here. Many stumbling blocks – short-shrifting potential obstacles, differences in interpretation, the readiness of both transition teams to drive and embrace change, and different value drivers, to name just a few – can quickly impede speed to value, and may completely derail the journey. To avoid trip ups, you must develop, nurture, and maintain a strong relationship that facilitates communication, enables collaboration, addresses friction, and allows mutual value creation.
Preparing for Success
The keys here are:
- Begin transition planning during solution design
- Own the transition process (yes, this means you, Mr. or Ms. Buyer)
- Field the right, experienced team members to drive the transition
- Make the transition matter as much as getting to the agreement…with your provider, your transition leader and team, and your extended organization
- Align interests to ensure you and your provider are working together toward a successful transition
- Manage expectations surrounding the implementation of the new processes, driven by new roles, and executed by new people, and make sure you incorporate – and communicate the purpose of – a period of service stabilization following transition
- Stay involved throughout the transition to communicate importance, reinforce accountability, accelerate issue resolution, and keep all eyes on the prize.
For more details on successful transitions, please read our paper, “Services Transition: Navigating the Path from Agreement to Value.”